Is Alex Ovechkin Doing the Right Thing?

Just a few hours ago, the Washington Capitals stated that Alex Ovechkin will not be participating in the 2012 NHL All-Star festivities. This decision was not made by any official in the NHL, nor was it made by anybody on the Capitals staff. This decision was solely made by Ovechkin himself. As stated from a credible source within ESPN, Ovechkin stated that he "really doesn't feel like he deserves to be there and doesn't want to be a distraction."

This statement comes after a three-game suspension was placed on Ovechkin in response to his forceful hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek during Sunday's matchup.

This decision came as a surprise to many Washington fans, as well as hockey fans in general. Seeing as how Ovechkin has participated in four all-star games and scored at least one goal in each, it is alarming that he will sit this year out. But how much of an impact would this actually have on the all-star game?

With two undeniably good teams filled with an abundance of all-star caliber players, lead by veteran stars Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson, it is not too much of a reach to say that Ovechkin's place can be filled. But due to Ovechkin's consistency of producing for his team in the all-star game, it will be tough to find somebody to fill that void to the extent that Ovechkin did.

Ovechkin later went on to state that he is a "suspended player" and that he "does not deserve to be there." Although his honesty and integrity is appreciated and duly noted, it seems as if he may be taking the punishment too harshly. Being suspended on a hit that was not penalized in the game, raises some questions about the officiating and how they deal with players who have been in similar situations as Ovechkin is now.

I am sure we all remember when Zdeno Chara leveled Max Pacioretty in a regular season game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens.

This hit raised red flags all around the National Hockey League regarding the severity of hits. Pacioretty received a concussion and fractured a vertebrate. Immediately following the hit, Chara received a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct. However, after reviewing the tape of the hit, the NHL decided that no further punishment was necessary for Chara. A few days later, the Montreal Police announced that they had launched a criminal investigation into the hit. Yet, Chara did not receive any more punishment. Luckily for him, Pacioretty recovered and was able to get back on the ice this season.

So we must ask ourselves, what made the Ovechkin hit different from the one on Pacioretty? Why did Ovechkin receive a suspension, and Chara did not? Although it seems that Ovechkin is more honest, and owned up to his actions, it does not erase the fact that the Eastern All-Stars will be without one of their vital players. For the fans, well, we will be missing out on another year of Ovechkin's crazy antics in the skills competition.

But that is neither here nor there. After his three game suspension, and some time to think about what he has done while he sits in time-out, Alex Ovechkin will be back and ready to focus on the second half of the season.

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